Okay, so this might seem pretty obvious to a lot of people. But there’s a whole bunch of people I know that don’t listen to podcasts and wouldn’t even know where to start. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, if you’re the kind of person that uses your phone to message people, receive calls and maybe checks Facebook from time to time and that’s it, good for you.
For better or worse, for me my phone is more like a life management device. I use it for the obvious things but I also use it to listen to music (Spotify), read books (Kindle), learn languages (currently using Memrise), manage emails (down with this sort of thing) and listen to a LOT of podcasts.
Somewhere along the line the message that I’ve heard my whole life about the need for life long learning finally sunk in. And so now I basically try to fill any time that used to be unproductive such as commuting, chores, lunchtime walks as opportunities to learn. ABL – always be learning.
I know that I have friends that would bristle at the the thought of filling every available second with learning because of the pace of life these days and they’d have a point but that’s something to reflect on another day. For me though, it’s almost like a sense of insecurity and that I’ll somehow get left behind and so I have this furious desire to always be learning or at least exposing myself to new ideas in the hope that I’ll hit on something life changing. That hasn’t happened yet but I can tell you that I do keep a small pocket sized notebook that I use to jot down really nice quotes, concepts or action points for later.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is basically just an on demand radio show that you can get on the internet.
How to listen to podcasts
But enough waffle. So I’ve asked you if you ever listen to podcasts and you look at me like I have two heads? “Podcasts?”, you say. “I wouldn’t even know where to start”, you say. Okay then fair enough. Here are the simple steps to get you on your way to discovering the wonderful world of podcasts.
To listen to podcasts there are two options.
- You can listen to podcasts through a website. This is called ‘streaming’.A lot of podcast publishers will make their podcasts available on their website. Others also video their podcasts and so make them available on YouTube.
- Alternatively, and the easier option, is to download a podcast. This basically means you can save it on your phone or tablet and so can listen to it without requiring an internet connection once it is downloaded. To download a podcast you will need a podcast player.
- Podcast player
So I think the first question comes down to which podcast player you want to use. iPhones come with a pre-installed Podcast app where you can manage and download podcasts. To choose podcasts to subscribe to you’ll still need to access iTunes but that’s okay because you can access that from your phone.
Once you access the podcast section of iTunes you’ll see that you can search for podcasts by name or even category. While podcasts have been around for years, in the last few years they really have experienced somewhat of a renaissance. Believe me, a lot of these podcasts are highly produced, edited and have some great content.
Pick some podcasts, hit subscribe and they’ll appear in your Podcast app and away you go.
- For Android devices you can use various podcatcher apps. A podcatcher app is basically like a media player just for podcasts that manages the podcasts you subscribe to, where you can download them and access the various podcast details. Think of a podcast app like your TV with access to the channels (think podcasts) that you are interested in. Most podcatcher apps are free and some are paid for but are generally still cheap.You can download these from the Google Play store.
I use Pocket Cast for no other reason that when I searched for the word Podcast Player that’s what came up first in the Google Play Store results. I know other people also like Stitcher Radio. I haven’t used this but it has a rating of 4/5 on the Play Store so it must be good.
Once you download one of these apps, you can start searching by podcast name or category. Here’s a screenshot from the ‘discover’ option in Pocket Cast. If you’re not sure where to start, you can search by trending and also by category.
So that’s basically it. Download some podcasts and if I’ve sent you this post to get you started, let me know how you get on. And of course, recommendations are welcome. I’ll write another blog post (someday) about the podcasts that I like listening to!